This is how the lymphatic system is built

The lymphatic system is an essential part of the immune system. Here you will find information about the structure of the lymphatic system and its functions

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Where is the lymphatic system located?

The lymphatic system is an important part of the body's own defense system (immune system).

The lymphatic system runs through the entire body

© W & B / Martina Ibelherr

Its components are:

  • Lymph vessels
  • Lymph nodes
  • spleen
  • Thymus gland (only in children)
  • Palatine, tongue and pharynx tonsils (lymphatic ring)
  • Lymphatic tissue in the intestine

What is the job of the lymphatic system?

The components of the lymphatic system have different roles.

  • The lymph vessels run through the body along the blood vessels and transport the lymph fluid towards the heart. This contains lymphocytes, a special type of white blood cell that plays an important role in the immune system.
  • The lymph fluid is cleaned in the lymph nodes: cell debris is broken down and foreign bodies such as viruses and bacteria that have entered are destroyed.
  • The spleen breaks down used red blood cells. It also stores the lymphocytes.
  • In children, lymphocytes mature in the thymus under the sternum. Over the course of life, fat replaces the tissue of the thymus.
  • The lymphatic ring of the pharynx made of the pharynx, tongue and palatine tonsils intercepts pathogens that penetrate from the breath and via the mucous membranes.

What diseases are there?

If the lymph flow is interrupted or impaired, the congestion can cause lymphedema to form. This is understood to mean the accumulation of lymph fluid in the tissue. Causes can be, for example, a weak connective tissue, lack of exercise and missing or injured lymph nodes.

In infections such as Pfeifer's glandular fever, but also in the case of a completely normal cold, the lymph nodes can swell.

In Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - both malignant diseases of the lymphatic system - the lymph nodes swell. Daughter tumors from other cancers can also cause such changes.

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